Can two apps join forces to upend TikTok? TikTok did just reach 1B monthly active users, so maybe not. But as they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.
We first met Clash on Product Hunt a year ago. The new app took a creator-first approach to social media. The expectation was that the makers understood what creators wanted more than anyone. Co-founder Jesse Leimgruber is a digital marketer and content strategist, and co-founder Brendon McNerney is a creator and former star on Vine, where he had amassed 700K followers.
Meanwhile, Dom Hofman, founder of Vine, was launching byte, another Vine-esque video app and social network. byte had a strong community from the start, with over 1.3 million downloads during the first week of its launch. But TikTok had simply grown too large by that point. Ryan Hoover’s comment on the launch page could have spoken for millions of others:
“Ooh, I've been looking forward to this, although TikTok is already sucking too much of my attention. 😅”
You know where this is going even if you didn't catch the news. At the beginning of the year, Clash acquired byte for an undisclosed amount. Mr. McNerney told the New York Times it was “more of an I.P. acquisition” to take over byte’s community.
Now Clash App has re-launched today with a larger community, $9.1 million in funding from investors like Alexis Ohanian, and a new focus which is to be a sort of supplement to apps like TikTok. McNerney and Leimgruber expect that creators will grow their fanbase across a host of platforms — Clash is meant to be the place where they manage and monetize them.
With the launch, the makers have made good on the promise they made to the Product Hunt community last year and delivered Drops, a feature where fans can send tokens to creators right in the main feed. Tokens are purchased by fans through the App Store and redeemed at 2,500 ($25), similar to Twitch. Another feature called Fanmail lets fans unlock message sending to creators, who can respond back.
Clash may have pivoted from Goliath (TikTok), but it is still entering a crowded space. We’ve seen plenty of competitors with community management tools start to gain traction — Orbit, Geneva, and just-launched, Kommunity, to name a few.
Clash is worth calling out still. For better or worse, the app skirts feelings of being a SaaS-type tool for creators and is built upon short-form video instead, with fingerprints of the makers’ Vine past.
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